Monday, December 4, 2017

A Month of Couplets - November 2017


November 2017 Couplets


Let's be Republicans!--And hem and haw

Until we overthrow the rule of law!


Loneliness terrifies me because I'm with

Someone I can't stand to spend any time with.


Let's be Republicans!--And smugly blame

What we burn up for triggering the flame!


My bad romances are the children of

A needy dad and moms who feel no love.


Because my heart's an alcoholic souse,

It guzzles love and blacks out playing house.


Let's be Republicans!--And always battle

To make sure men can treat women like cattle!


Just body parts won't start my carnal car--

It's all about whose body parts they are.


Let's be Republicans!--And bravely fight

To make this country bigoted and white!


Between the ignorance and the mendacity

Our leaders put the ass in incapacity.


An ounce of hope lifts despair's ton of pressure

And one kind act's the stone that breaks Hate's thresher.


              Two Ideas Of Love

His heart believed her love could validate him;

His insecurity's what made her hate him.


One kind of love always ends in rejection:

Mistaking affectation for affection.


Never give up--but let surrender be

The way your spirit fights for victory.


Let's be Republicans!--And talk the talk!

And then go backwards every time we walk!


If wanting was enough, I'd be a saint;

But that takes love, self-knowledge, and restraint.


What justifies our political lust?

This motto: In Rich White Male God We Trust.


May my life always be a meal that feeds

Not what my journey wants, but what it needs.


When false friends talk behind my back, why curse?

If they knew ALL my flaws, they'd say much worse.


My lower self looks for a pit to fall in;

My higher self, a prospect to stand tall in.


Everything that we get in life's a loan.

Why cling to things that we can never own?



My country is an uncivilization.


Now is not then and will not ever be.

Let it go--it's one sure way to be free.


My life's been gifts and blessings by the tank-full.

I give thanks that I'm still here to feel thankful.


Joy's flowers are all watered by my tears;

My courage is the daughter of my fears.


Ask me my flaws--I'll tell you ten at once.

Ask me my gifts--I stammer like a dunce.


Bad decisions teach me how not to fail

Like storms at sea help me learn how to sail.


All sins can be forgiven--except one:

Using The Bible like a Gatling gun.


The ego: "Seek revenge for every hurt!"

The heart: "Treat foes like flowers, not like dirt."


The present is a diet of fresh meat

But it's the past's stale leftovers I eat.


Each time I undertake a plan of action

My monkey brain gets dazzled by distraction.

Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells

Monday, October 9, 2017

The World

The world says that I have to pay attention
   To what it says must occupy my mind.
I have to be a cog in its convention
   Of relevance, or else I’m unrefined.
The world says that it is the arbiter
   Of what I should be seeing—doing—wearing—
For my own good. And so I must concur.
   If not, then I deserve to be despairing.
The world says that what it says matters more
   Than anything I say—and its approval
Is all I need to get me past Fame’s door.
   Without it, bouncers see to my removal.
      The world says I must give each waking thought
      To what it calls important—or I’m not.

They say the world will come to you if you
   Just keep doing the work, but that’s a lie.
It only comes when brought by someone who
   Sees something in it that he wants to buy.
They say the world will always notice talent,
   But talent is defined as flattery.
Sing the world’s praises; it will call you gallant
   And stay blind to your mediocrity.
They say the world will recognize great art,
   But that’s the greatest fiction of them all.
Works that have brilliance, vision, style and heart
   Are chaff if not sold at the shopping mall.
      They say the world decrees where worth begins—
      And every time we buy that, the world wins.

The world wins when it says "I am the one
   Who brands you with the tattoo of success.
You cannot shine unless it is my sun.
   Without my label, all is worthlessness."
The world wins when we say that we define
   Our own success, since that means we’re conceding
We’ve failed at the world’s game, and get to dine
   On our own praises, which is special pleading.
The world wins every time we factor in
   The world to an equation. It’s a term
Whose value changes what we’ve done or been
   Into an either or: winner or worm.
      The world wins when we seek out its affection—
      And wins big when we give it our rejection.

Rejecting the world means that we still care
   Enough about it to defend our work
Against its disapproval—its unfair
   Ignorance—its supercilious smirk.
Rejecting the world means we tried to win it
   Over to us, and then cried “Sour grapes!”
Because it wouldn’t give us half a minute,
   We bitch it out for days with gripes and japes.
Rejection feeds the world’s great vanity,
   For hatred’s just a hotter kind of loving.
Beneath its heat, it says you want to be
   Embraced and welcomed by the one you’re shoving.
      It doesn’t want her gone—it wants her sweet.
      Which makes rejection yearning in defeat.

The world can’t lose because the game is rigged
   To either make it win or make you fail.
It poisons every toast you’ve ever swigged.
   (I swear to God, it’s like the world is male.)
The world can’t lose because it is the court
   And judge and jury where worth’s law is passed—
That puts your name on Time’s final report
   And then rules whether you will fade or last.
The world can’t lose unless you just don’t give
   A shit what it thinks. Takes a special soul
To care so little for applause, and live
   Without what others cling to, and be whole.
      The world can’t lose unless, for all you love it,
      You vow always to be in it—not of it.

The world is everything, for those who look
   For someone else to tell them all the answers.
“Here’s the great movie!” “There’s the must-read book!”
   “That company may move, but they’re no dancers.”
The world is everything a vampire is—
   It needs your blood to live; it fills your head
With hungry dreams and condescension’s fizz;
   Then leaves you soulless, brainwashed, and undead.
The world is everything you’ve ever wanted—
   State-sanctioned virtue, tolerated vice,
The lure of fame whose absence leaves you haunted—
   And all you have to do is pay its price:
      Be the world’s champion, not its accuser—
      And then call anyone who is, a loser.

The world is just, or so it likes to think,
   And fair the way society is fair:
It serves the Ins a complimentary drink
   While telling all the Outs “I just don’t care.”
The world is just too proud to be disgraced
   Whenever someone says it might be biased.
It claims it’s just coincidence its taste
   Runs to the straightest, whitest, and the guyest.
The world is just another inner voice
   That tells us all the things we cannot do—
Praises us when we choose to give up choice
   And swears it’s champagne when we swig its brew.
      The world is just a low voice from on high
      That will praise nothing it can’t profit by.

The world is nothing more than a collection
   Of self-sustaining myths. It’s like a church.
Give it your worship; it gives you protection.
   Deny it; it will leave you in the lurch.
The world is nothing but an elevator—
   Once you’re in, upper floors are all you’ll see.
It guards the penthouse like it’s Joy’s dictator,
   Crying: “You must find happiness through me!”
The world is nothing less than a machine
   I have no control over, so why should
I think its ignorance of me is mean
   Or meant? Or that its praise of me is good?
      Why look for vision in what cannot see
      And always puts the vain in vainglory?

“The world is ours!” successful people cry.
   But they don’t ever own it—it owns them.
Its praise—and not their gifts—put them on high,
   And what it raises up, it can condemn.
The world is yours to do with as it pleases,
   But only when you choose to give it power.
And when it does deliver on its teases
   And kisses you, the aftertaste is sour.
The world is mine, when I can say to it
   “You don’t own me!” and mean it—every word—
Do what I will, not what it will permit—
   And be untroubled, not a fountain stirred,
      Each time the world thinks of new ways to fool me
      Into believing that its standards rule me.

Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells

Anthill Blues

Sunday, October 1, 2017

A Month of Couplets - September 2017

From The Daily Couplet:


The new is tar in which my thoughts will sink.
Boring routines will give me space to think.

Walk out of any room where there's no love
And write a tale that you're the hero of.


If I loved myself half as much as I
Love the unworthy, oh, how high I'd fly!


Safety is knowing what you'll do for weeks.
Adventure never sees beyond your cheeks.


The door I fear to open guards a room
Of terrible rewards, not pain and doom.


I love the new, but it's the same old game:
When strangeness beckons, I reach for the same.


In all of history, no one's been you.
Don't waste that doing what the rest can do.


You always know who misses you the most:
The great reach out; the rest fade like a ghost.


Want to make haters feel incompetent?
Treat all their insults like a compliment.


Anger congests us till we fume and sputter.
Forgiveness cleans out all that nasty clutter.


Those born to a belief may be dogmatic
But converts live their creed like a fanatic.


Escape in fiction gets looked down on by
The jailers who say all art must be high.


Fear whispers--my soul sinks beneath the floor.
But just a breath of hope can make it soar.


The more we feed the hate of push and shove,
The less we listen to the voice of love.


(After Blaise Pascal)

All mankind's woes are meat on this one bone:
We can't sit quiet in a room alone.


Compassion weaves when heartless cuts the cord.
When hate is king, love is the rebel's sword.


It's only when I'm all alone and free
That I feel like I'm in bad company.


When my corrupted drives are all cleaned out,
There's still the back-up server of self-doubt.


The things that hurt us most we'll call a treasure
And let them kill us--if they give us pleasure.


It's Life when every answer to our cries
Is just another question in disguise.


It's all about what solitude can teach us
And those who care enough to try to reach us.


Shame is a cannibal--it always eats
Itself, till you're weighed down by your defeats.


Speak tolerance to hate--he never hears it
Because it's loving, and because he fears it.


Power responds to rebels with complaints
By killing them—then making them its saints.


Never tell narcissists that you adore them--
Because it's what they want to hear, you'll bore them.


The high road will become your status quo
When you ditch those who make you take the low.


Fools take for granted their deep friends' ovation
And fish the shallows for appreciation.


The hardest things in life to let go of
Are those that cling to my lack of self-love.


Obey this sign and lift depression's fog:


The world says I must give each waking thought
To what it calls "important"--or I'm not.

Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells

Monday, September 18, 2017

Life In 28 Lines

My life's a map of places that can hide me
But none of them protect me like they should.
I talk to friends as if they're here beside me
But they can't say more than I think they would.

This loneliness is colder then December.
I just hear echoes every time I pray.
I cling to all the good times I remember,
Then wonder why the future slips away.

Each dawn arrives with something to upset me.
By sunset, it defeats me or I grow.
I think the universe is out to get me--
It really likes to tell me where to go.

And every time the moment's crystal clear,
Life is a voice that says "You can't stay here."

No matter where I move, it's a direction.
No matter where I wind up, it's a stand.
Even when I'm withdrawn, it's a connection.
Even when it's spontaneous, it's planned.

Each false step that I take is done to teach me
That I am my own life's most dearest foe.
Each true step sees a goal that wants to reach me--
And when it does, I'll be the last to know.

For knowledge is just ignorance times pride
And learning is a never-ending road.
And even if I travel with a guide,
He passes on a wisdom that's in code--

And every pitfall where I stumble proves
To be the right kind of all the wrong moves.

Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Broken Eggs

            for Coley Campany

A broken egg reflects upon its mother.
It can't just happen; it must have a cause--
Some flaw, some wrong in her, something or other
That desecrated one of Nature's laws.

A broken egg means heads must look away
And hearts grow cold that used to warm the best,
And those who failed must all, day after day,
Get schooled by those who never took the test.

A broken egg means someone must have dropped it--
Some loser who can't do the simplest jobs.
It didn't--couldn't--hatch, because she stopped it--
A useless piece of damaged goods who sobs.

So says the world, taking away your voice
By telling you that it’s unspeakable,
What happened—that it was somehow your choice,
And you should feel guilt by the bucketful.

A broken egg declares that you're no good
And never will be, because you are broken--
A guilty member of a sisterhood
Of shame, where all your grief must be unspoken.

So speak out. Tell the world how loss has driven
You to an understanding of Life's worth--
That new souls are a gift, and not a given
And all that gets delivered is a birth--

That yes, there's sisterhood, but never shame,
For what they really share is something deep:
Faith based on loss, acceptance without blame,
Compassion that could make an angel weep--

And love, whose strength is born for all to see
In mothers touched by Life's fragility.

Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Life's Like

Life's like a funeral--the ones you think
Will be there never show, and those who do
Are there because of an unspoken link
Between you--bottomless, unswerving, true.

Life's like your wedding--years from now you'll say
"What happened to my crew? We were a nation!"
And look at all the friends you have today
And know they'd never get an invitation.

Life is like moving--the last place you lived
Is what says home to you. Life is like baking--
You put up with the lumps, until they're sieved
Into whatever crazy cake you're making.

Life is like poetry, for there are times
We all feel like we're words without true rhymes.

Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells

Friday, September 1, 2017


I've always chased the story--chased the girl--
The tale that makes my life a book worth reading.
I put words into my heart's mouth, then hurl
Myself after whatever is misleading.
When I hear music, I reach for a dancer
Because I want her to sit on my lap.
I lose my doubts in someone else's answer.
I find myself on someone else's map.

I translate life into my dictionary
And look for meanings that tell me I'm safe.
I only scratch the itch that's momentary.
I cling to pleasures that will make me chafe.
I doubt the instincts I should always trust
And trust what tells me "You don't need to grow."
When someone asks a favor, I hear "must."
When love says "Yes," the fool in me says "No."

My principles give up without a fight
When pleasing someone else makes me feel smart.
I look for wrongs that nothing can make right
And colanders in which to pour my heart.
I suck up to the cool kids so they'll say
"You're one of us!" But every one of them
Treats friendship like a mirror, and will play
"You're So Lame" to whoever they condemn.

The drink I drink is tasteless, till I cut
My tongue out and let it tell me its flavor.
The things I feel are all echoes of what
I don't feel anymore, and so I savor
Each one--not for its body; for its ghost--
And judge a joy by how long it will last
And entertain success so I can boast,
And live not for the future, but the past.

Between them both,  the present whizzes by.
It slips through my life's fingers when I grab it.
It's here and then it's gone, unlike a lie.
It's dead already by the time I stab it.
How strange that what can frustrate, and fulfill,
And stir me up, is what I cannot touch--
Moving through me when I am standing still;
Sharing my life, but never going dutch.

Weighed down by all the stuff I hate to carry
And am afraid to drop--because I don't
Know who I am unless my burdens marry
My onerous desires--I say I won't
Let this moment pass by. But all that weight--
The past; my fears; the weariness I bring
To what should be exciting--tells me straight:
I must give up the stuff to find the thing.

All it takes, when the world is dull, and full
Of books that I don't want to feel like reading
Or things that I don't care for, is to pull
My self out of myself, and then start feeding
The hunger in me, not the appetite.
And when I do, the right meal will be there.
It won't be on the menu, but each bite
Will be the answer to a tongueless prayer.

All it takes to move forward is a shift
From what I see to what is really there:
The possibility that is a gift;
The quickstep I can dance without a care.
It's all call and response, if I just keep
Myself tuned to the song my life is playing.
It's all a moment's move, and it will sweep
Me up with it,  like faith does after praying--

For getting what I want is guaranteed
If I let go of what I do not need.

Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells

Thursday, August 31, 2017

A Month of Couplets - August 2017

From The Daily Couplet:


Change is the destiny that can’t escape me.
Growth is my future self trying to shape me.


Through where will happiness come when I’m mopin’?
A door I didn’t know that I left open.


The greatest let-down is the consummation—
The journey is the only destination.


Remember: when you love and live the chase
And it goes nowhere—that, too, is a place.


Each time we meet’s a play in which I’m smitten—
And you refuse to act the part I’ve written.


Losing and loving, killing and creating—
All that we do has its own deathbed waiting.


I like to think my might-have-beens betrayed me,
But all the roads I passed up are what made me.


Ask “Are you happy?” I’ll say “Hold that thought.”
But I know all the ways my friends are not.


We’re costumes on a skeleton of hope,
Dreaming of clothes with which we can elope.


The thing by which I thought I would be killed
Is all part of the wreckage I’ll rebuild.


Praise and salt water are the same way cursed:
The more you drink of them, the more you thirst.


“Find your own voice!” those writing teachers say.
Meaning: “”Choose a dictator to obey.”


Words are the wardrobe that I keep creating;
Photos, the self that I’m impersonating.


Live long enough, and you will cry, forlorn:
“No one's left who’s known me since I was born!”


A moment’s pleasure zips by fleetingly;
A moment’s shame lives on eternally.


Each memory I have is firmly set
Beside what I have chosen to forget.


The house of happiness is full of gloom—
Its whole first floor is one big waiting room.


My hopes are sleight when I give them the gate;
My fears a strain because I give them weight.


The joy’s not in what I know how to do
But learning what I didn’t know was true.


The story’s in the razor, not the edge—
Not jumpers, but what led them to the ledge.


It always starts with darkness to move through,
And always ends with light shining from you.


Hatred’s a gun that decimates the earth;
Love is the only weapon that gives birth.


Those who make promises and then forget them
Will only make you bitter if you let them.


If you want to excel in what you do,
Cling to those who bring out the best in you.


Lust is a blaze that scorches when it craves.
Love is a heat that nourishes and saves.


The new must undermine the old to thrive,
But old turns vicious when it can’t survive.


My past's a meal that I am daily fed
And memories the meat between Time's bread.


Love without wild abandon is a sin
But deadly poison without discipline.


The one great secret behind all great art:
You have to probe the wound to reach the heart.


We all share this same secret, hid from viewing:
No one—none of us—know what we are doing.


Leaving allows your life to change directions;
Goodbyes all say hello to new connections.

Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells